Business functions on the concept of supply and demand and New Jersey-based startup Snuggle Buddies has found a market that will likely never be sate. Snuggle Buddies is a professional cuddling service that provides customers comfort via “platonic touch,” offering comfort and companionship. Feeling down? Just order a male or female professional cuddler (regardless of your gender) to spend as little as an hour holding you tight, or have them stay overnight for extended comfort. Welcome to outsourced affection.
Founder Evan Carp hit a personal rough patch involving his health a few years ago and he became fairly isolated. This time alone made him appreciate the value of human touch and gave him the opportunity to research touch therapy. In the digital age, many people have all but completely replaced human interaction in their lives and this has added to loneliness, and it has even shifted the chemical makeup of people’s brains. Platonic human touch releases oxytocin, which lowers blood pressure, relieves stress, reduces social anxiety, relieves pain, and decreases inflammation. It has also been shown to relieve Seasonal Affective Disorder and a suite of other emotional issues. Cuddling also just feels good, and Snuggle Buddies’ rapidly growing customer base agrees.
Since its establishment at the end of 2013, Carp’s first business has grown to include major metropolitan areas and some smaller city in the states of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Illinois. However, according to Facebook statistics, Snuggle Buddies is most popular in Buffalo, New York. In May 2014 alone, professional snugglers clocked in more than 250 hours of cuddling. May also brought in about five new customers per day, with Facebook likes skyrocketing to nearly 500 users within a couple of months.
This business model can raise a few eyebrows. Adults exchanging money for cuddling? No sexual contact? Snuggle Buddies isn’t an escort service as you know one to be, although the company does offer the option of taking a snuggle buddy to an event or date for a special hourly rate. Both employees and customers have to sign agreements barring any hanky-panky and everyone must wear at least shorts and a t-shirt, making this a platform for those that truly want simple, physical companionship.
Call it a sign of the times, but marriage rates are dropping and also reflect a shift in marriage demographics. More often now than ever, people are single longer and relationships take a backseat to careers. It is no wonder then that Snuggle Buddies’ customers are typically older than 50-years-old and they are successful professionals with the disposable income to afford this service, which costs from $60 per hour up to $400 for an overnight stay (snugglers accept both in-call and outcall requests).
Snuggle Buddies is not the first service of its kind. Cuddle U NYC, Cuddle Up to Me, and The Snuggery are a few of the other players in the market, but they have only a few snugglers located in small regions. Snuggle Buddies has already grown to include four in-house employees and more than 70 snugglers (75 percent of which are female) across 11 states. Evan Carp says that Snuggle Buddies is growing according to plan, and soon safe, physical comfort will be available to the lonely in every city across the United States.